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Greetings, Georgia.

It's Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023.

The first week of 2023 continues, and we're starting something new.

Our Georgia Today and Georgia Today Politics newsletters have informed thousands of Georgians over the past few years, guiding readers to the latest news and politics from around the state. 

Now we're combining them under one Georgia Today news brand, so you'll receive this GPB newsletter in your inbox automatically on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays along with access to our daily Georgia Today podcast. You can easily change your newsletter preferences at the bottom of this email. 

Don't forget: Political Rewind will still play on your FM dial and stream on Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., with podcast episodes available here.

Now, welcome to Georgia Today!



Georgia lawmakers plan to push for higher police pay, improved retirement benefits in 2023 Legislature

(Georgia Recorder)

A quick survey of the salaries for police officers in rural Southwest Georgia found that some officers started off earning $12.70 per hour, providing further insight into why so many local law enforcement agencies are struggling to recruit new personnel and keep experienced officers on staff.

In a fall meeting a panel of state lawmakers, police chiefs, sheriffs, and state law enforcement officials discussed the pressing challenges facing their profession as Georgia ranks near the bottom of the nation in average law enforcement pay. The House Study Committee on State and Local Law Enforcement Salaries report could become the lynchpin for new legislation once lawmakers return next Monday.

The committee signed off on recommendations granting local officers access to a statewide retirement plan, providing income tax breaks, and encouraging city and county leaders to adopt a minimum salary of $56,000 to match the national average.

By comparison, the average salary for rural Southwest Georgia is about $35,000 per year.

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✭ GPB's Jon Nelson on NFL player Damar Hamlin's tragic collapse

Buffalo Bills players and staff surround their teammate Damar Hamlin in Cincinnati following his collapse Monday night during an NFL game. (AP)

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains hospitalized in Cincinnati following his collapse Monday night during an NFL football game against the Bengals. The Bills say he had a cardiac arrest after making a tackle.

Hamlin's family is expressing gratitude for the outpouring of support shown toward him after the on-field emergency. Such a devastating injury may have consequences for the entire NFL and reverberate even further.

For more context, we turn to GPB's Jon Nelson, veteran sportscaster and journalist who covers high school football for GPB Sports. 

  • Peter Biello: Have we seen something like this on an NFL football field before?

    Jon Nelson: The closest was back in 1971, and it was a player for the Detroit Lions who passed on the field, Chuck Hughes, who was the only player to die in a game, and it was later diagnosed that he basically had a heart attack on the field. ... But it wasn't from contact or anything like we saw last night. It literally was diagnosed as a massive ... heart attack that he had there on the field. That's the closest thing we've ever had.
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Congress GOP fails to elect House Speaker; race for Ralston's seat goes to runoff




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Georgia Today is the new daily podcast from GPB News bringing you in-depth reporting and compelling stories from across the state that you won't hear anywhere else.

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Georgia Today is written by Sarah Rose and Kristi York Wooten and edited by Khari Sampson.
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